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General News Fri, 6 Oct 2000

Economic crisis affects Electoral Commission

Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, chairman of the EC, said communication is vital to the work of the commission, as there is the need to be abreast with events across the country on a daily basis for effective monitoring. He appealed to other organisations to assist the commission with items such as canopies and means of transport, especially on Election Day.

Dr Afari-Gyan added that the present economic difficulties have created a budget deficit of about eight billion cedis for the commission. He said the depreciation of the cedis has drastically affected its budgetary allocation for the December elections but added that there is no cause for alarm. He said positive responses from the donor community would be used to supplement and absorb the shocks for the commission to perform its constitutional obligations.

He said the commission was allocated 23 billion cedis in October last year for the electoral process, which involves revision of the voters' register, changing of thumb-printed ID cards for photo ID cards and other pre-electoral activities. The commission's budget has now shot up to 31 billion cedis an increase of about eight billion cedis. He said the situation would be quite different if there should be a second round of the presidential election.

He however gave the assurance that the situation is not so bleak as to cause any panic, especially among political parties, because the commission presented a shopping list to the donor community, which has picked items that they can provide.

Meanwhile, Mobitel Ghana Limited has donated 10 connected mobile cellular phones valued at six million cedis with free airtime to the Electoral Commission (EC). Mr Morry Sivan, Managing Director of Mobitel, said it is to enhance the operation of the commission in monitoring and ensuring the flow of information during the elections. He said Mobitel recognises the role of effective communication toward a free, fair and acceptable election results and, as a leading mobile phone provider, sees the need to assist the commission.

Source: joyfm